Trent Zimmerman, former vice-president of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association, is making a tilt for the Mayor of North Sydney at Council elections in September. It will be the second attempt for the councillor for the Wollstonecraft ward.
When I ran four years ago not one person raised my sexuality as a reason not to vote for me, and that’s as it should be. I think that’s reflective that the lower north shore is a very accepting part of Sydney, Zimmerman told SSO.
While the area hasn’t always had the same gay and lesbian infrastructure of the City of Sydney, it’s got a long history of being a popular place for people of the gay and lesbian community to live.
Kirribilli in its heyday was among the first bohemian centres of Sydney and had a very large and active gay community back then, and it’s certainly my impression that’s still the case today.
During his last term as a councillor Zimmerman fought the NSW Government over the de-funding of NorthAIDS, a drop-in centre that offered support, lunch and social activities for HIV-positive people between the Harbour and Gosford -“ a decision he still calls unforgiveable.
We led a vigorous campaign to restore the funding for NorthAIDS. Unfortunately the State Government didn’t listen and cut funding three years ago, so the services had to close, he said.
NorthAIDS also organised a gay and lesbian festival in Kirribilli, but that was also discontinued.
I’m also pleased to have supported the introduction of the Safe Places program. It’s got a leg in the door, but I don’t think it’s been promoted as effectively as it could be, so that’s something I’d like to do.
But Zimmerman won’t be following the Sydney and South Sydney Councils’ leads by introducing a relationship register without teeth. I’d prefer reform at a State and Federal level, he said.
Although running as an independent, Zimmerman is also a staffer for North Sydney MP Joe Hockey and is a former NSW Young Liberals president.
Zimmerman is running against three-time independent mayor Genia McCaffery.
Several gay candidates are running in other inner-city councils, including Bruce Notley-Smith in Randwick, and Philip Black and Shayne Mallard in Sydney.